Graphic design is a creative process that combines art and technology to communicate ideas. The designer works with a variety of communication tools in order to convey a message from a client to a particular audience. The main tools are image and typography. Designers often combine images and typography to communicate a client's message to an audience. They explore the creative possibilities presented by words (typography) and images (photography, illustration, and fine art). It is up to the designer not only to find or create appropriate letterforms and images but also to establish the best balance between them.

Many things are required to become a successful graphic artist, and not just educational training either. Graphic designers should have at least several of the following characteristics: self discipline, creativity, the ability to work effectively as a member of a team in a competitive industry, the ability to interpret clients needs and develop communication strategies and creative visual solutions, drawing ability, strong writing and oral presentation skills, good listening and analytical skills, the ability to pay close attention to details, the ability to learn from constructive criticism, good organization and time management skills, the ability to deal with the pressure of constant deadlines and a willingness to keep up to date with new developments in the graphic design field. Graphic designers should also enjoy finding innovative ways to present ideas and be able to take a methodical approach to tasks requiring precision and consulting with others.
In the way of education, most graphic designers have post-secondary education in visual communication design or graphic design. It's important to develop a strong portfolio in order to find employment as a graphic designer. Computer skills, obviously, are required. In Canada there is a 'Society of Graphic Designers of Canada', which recommends a three or four year program in visual communications of graphic arts. There are many places in Canada where one can go to study Graphic Design, such as College of the North Atlantic, Grande Prairie Regional College, Guru Digital Arts College, Keyano College and Lethbridge College, all located within the country.

Graphic Designers may be employed by or work on a contract basis for: corporate and government communications or public relations departments, graphic design studios, film and television studios, advertising agencies, multimedia companies, industrial design studios, book publishing firms, architectural firms, newspapers and magazines, or printers. Advancement opportunities for other graphic designers depends on the size of the organization and the designer's qualifications. In Canada, 82% of Graphic Designers work in industries such as 'Professional, Scientific and Technical Services', 'Manufacturing', and 'Information, Culture and Recreation'. The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including trends and events affecting overall employment, location, employment turnover, occupational growth and size of the occupation.


Job Posting - Graphic Designer

We are searching for enthusiastic, energetic, bold and decisive team players as Designers to our Art Department. The objective of this exciting and rewarding role is to create layouts of our publications and design advertisements for our sponsors. The minimum work load is five (5) hours per month.

Main Responsibilities

  • Create layouts of UTChinese publications
  • Design advertisements for sponsors
  • Design marketing materials for UTChinese events
  • Design graphics for UTChinese website and BBS
  • Participate in ad hoc requests supporting departmental and organizational activities


  • Knowledge and experience in graphic design with preference given to individuals with magazine layout experience
  • Demonstrated creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, time management and team work skills
  • Willingness to work with Adobe CS5 environment
  • Proficiency in Adobe Photoshop or other photo-editing software
  • Proficiency in Adobe InDesign or Adobe Illustrator is a strong asset
  • Experience in drawing is a strong asset
  • Knowledge of Adobe Fireworks, Adobe Flash or CorelDRAW is an asset
  • Demonstrated ability to manage confidentiality

Additional Information

Most Art team in-person meetings and trainings are held at the St. George campus of the University of Toronto. Willingness to commute would be important for candidates who are located far away from downtown Toronto.

Salaries within this occupation vary depending on geographic location, experience, reputation and the ability of the designer. According to the 2011 Canadian Wage and Salary Survey, Canadians in the Graphic Designers and Illustrators occupational group earned, on average, from $20.38 to $32.15 an hour. The mean wage for this group is $25.90 an hour.

Self-employed (freelance) graphic designers divide their time between studio work and meeting with clients, photographers and other professionals involved in the design process. Some travelling may be required. Designers employed by advertising agencies or design studios spend most of their time in the agency or studio, occasionally attending meetings with clients. In advertising agencies, account executives or directors may act as liaisons between clients and designers. Most graphic designers work a standard weekly schedule. Overtime and weekend work is required if necessary to meet project deadlines.

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